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Saturday, October 1, 2016

"The Puma Outdone"

The (Ohio) Times-Democrat carried a story about a "wild man" on April 14, 1902. It said: "THE PUMA OUTDONE. Rockport and Beaverdam People Have a New Freak to be Afraid of:"

"Not since the time, several years ago, when Charley Price's famous mythical puma had the natives of the Putnam swamps dodging their own shadows has a scare been started in northwestern Ohio to equal that now in full sway in the vicinity of the village of Rockport and Beaver Dam. The puma will have to take a back seat for the new freak, an account of which appeared in the following dispatch from Columbus Grove to the Enquiror:
"'A strange being, apparently half man, and half beast, is seen the the country round about Rockport Beaver Dam. The creature puts in an appearance at or near farmhouses.
"'For some time the farmers in that vicinity have been troubled by nightly visits, apparently from intruders bent on securing money or other valuables. It was the scheme of the prowler to attempt to open a window or fumble at the door locks, then move on to the rear part of the house, and after giving the gates and such outposts a good shake disappears as quickly as he came. The family of Frank Conkleman left their home because of these visits, and while they were gone the strange being was seen.
"'The creature is described as resembling a man, although possesses of features coarse and rough, and is said to be covered with hair. The inhabitants of that staid old country vicinity are half crazed with excitement, and the female portion will not venture outside after nightfall.
"'It is firmly believed that the strange creature is an insane person who has been at large for some time. The being is attired in dress peculiar to one of the male sex, although scantily clad. A searching party will be organized to capture the fellow, if possible, although his fleetness of foot and abilities at fence jumping almost preclude any ideas of so doing.'"

Although the article says that the wild man wore clothing, the rest of the details sound like it could very well be a Bigfoot. The hairiness, "fleetness of foot," and ability to easily jump fences remind one of a Sasquatch.

This post was excerpted from The Ohio Monster Guidebook: A Look at the Buckeye State's Most Mysterious Creatures, my upcoming book.

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